Virtu, Francis Busuttil to acquire 70% holding in Malta Mediterranean Hub

Virtu Holdings and LTV Developments to acquire 70% shareholding in MMG Group from owner Paul Abela

The Malta Mediterranean Hub
The Malta Mediterranean Hub

The owners of Virtu Ferries are set to acquire a 70% shareholding in the MMH Group that operates the sprawling ex-shipbuilding site in Marsa.

In January, Mediterranean Maritime Hub Finance plc said its ultimate beneficial owner, Paul Abela, had signed a “conditional and non-binding letter of intent” to transfer shares to Virtu Holdings and LTV Developments.

Virtu Holdings have proposed an acquisition of a 70% shareholding, based on a restructuring plan that includes LTV being incorporated in the MMH structure; or a 70% share with LTV Developments taking over MMH’s operations, business, assets and activities.

MMH requested authorisation for the transaction to proceed from the governmental authorities, due to obligations in its 2016 public deed for the temporary emphyteusis of its Grand Harbour site in Marsa.

“The transaction described above therefore remains subject to the above-mentioned approvals being issued and the transaction becoming unconditional,” MMH said.

“The MMH Group reiterates its optimism for the proposed transaction to be concluded once all transactional documents have been negotiated and finalised, the relevant restructuring is completed, the above-mentioned approvals have been obtained and the transaction becoming unconditional.”

MMH Holdings guarantees the €15 million unsecured bonds that expire in 2026 issued by Mediterranean Maritime Hub Finance plc.

MMH Holdings had acquired by concession the ex-shipbuilding site in Marsa in 2016 after the government issued a public call. The site’s total area measures 165,000sq.m and includes 1,200m of quayside and engineering workshops covering 30,500sq.m.

The area strategically abuts onto the Grand Harbour and currently operates as an operations and supply chain support base for the Mediterranean oil and gas industry.

The transfer of shares is subject to authorisation from the competent authorities in line with MMH’s obligations arising from the public deed entered into with the government in August 2016.

Virtu Holdings is ultimately the owner of Virtu Ferries, operators of a catamaran service between Malta and Pozzallo. It also operates a fast ferry service between Grand Harbour and Mġarr. LTV Developments is owned by Francis Busuttil & Sons Ltd, also known as Ta’ Bandallu, a major importer of food and groceries.